What is today known as Airtel Nigeria started off business in the country under the brand name, Econet Wireless and later Vodacom. It again acquired a new name, V-mobile, and shortly metamorphosed into Celtel.
Upon its acquisition by the Kuwait mobile telecommunications company, it transformed to Zain. Despite being an early bird in the emergence of GSM in Nigeria, it still struggle to be among the top four networks.
Analysts believe that the coming of Airtel could improve its footprint in the country especially in the rural areas and in the reduction of tariff.
Speaking at the launch, President Goodluck Jonathan called on telecommunication companies to take their services beyond the big cities to the rural areas in the country where the majority of the people live.
The President also told the companies that government is not only interested in the provision of the means of communication to the rural communities but also in ensuring that it is affordable.
Represented by the Minister of Information and Communication, Prof. Dora Akunyili, the President said that the company’s commitments to affordable rural telephony will complement government’s policies towards the realization of its vision in that regard.
“I want to enjoin the company not to waiver in the pursuit of its objectives as it could find in this administration a partner it can work with. Already, the NCC has with the support of government initiated a number of public/private partnerships to take rural telephony to the hinterland. Airtel should therefore take advantage of this partnership,” he said.
Speaking, the Chairman and Managing Director of Bharti Airtel, Sunil Bharti Mittal promised to deliver a world class and affordable services to customers with innovative products.
He said that they remain committed to taking their network deeper into Africa, ensuring that their services touch the common man and bridge the digital divide in the continent.
He said: “Nigeria is our second largest network after India and it is critical to our Africa operations. The Nigeria market will make or break our operations in Africa and we are here to be remembered that our company was good for the country, good for Africa and the entire human race.
Chairman of Bharti Airtel Nigeria Oba Otudeko who is the highest single individual investor in Nigeria, conscious of public feelings towards the recurrent change of name of the network in Nigeria over the past years, said, “I know some of you are critics and would be saying we have been changing our name (frequently). I want to assure you this is the last time. We are at the terminus of our rebranding.”
Bharti Airtel limited is a leading global telecommunications company with operations in 19 countries across Asia and Africa with over 200 million customers in its operations.
Source: All Africa.com